William Spitzer Lecture
Thu, Jan 20, 2011 @ 04:00 PM - 05:45 PM
Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars
Speaker: Dr. Harry Atwater, California Institute of Technology
Talk Title: New Photonic Material Designs for Solar Energy Conversion
Series: William Spitzer Lecture
Abstract: Solar energy is currently enjoying substantial growth and investment, owing to worldwide sensitivity to energy security and climate change, and this has spurred basic research on light-matter interactions relevant to solar energy. Dr. Atwater will describe approaches to control of light-matter interactions leading to enhanced light-trapping and absorption, as well as increased open circuit voltage and enhanced quantum efficiency in solar photovoltaic structures. Conventionally, photovoltaic cells have a physical thickness comparable to their ‘optical thickness’ for full light absorption and photocarrier current collection. Solar cell design and material synthesis considerations are strongly dictated by this simple optical thickness requirement. Dramatically reducing the absorber layer thickness or volume confers several fundamental and practical benefits, including increased open circuit voltage and conversion efficiency, and also expansion of the scope and quality of absorber materials that are suitable for photovoltaics. He will describe light absorption in thin film and wire array solar cells that demonstrate enhanced absorption compared with conventional photovoltaic cells, and limits to enhanced absorption will be explored. Plasmonics and metamaterials design can also be exploited advantageously in photovoltaics. He will describe design approaches using metallic nanostructures to enhance the radiative emission rate and hence also the photovoltaic material quantum efficiency relative to conventional light-trapping structures. Finally, future design metamaterials for broadband resonant absorption and spectrum-splitting will be discussed.
Biography: Harry Atwater is currently Howard Hughes Professor and Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests center around two interwoven research themes: photovoltaics and solar energy; and plasmonics and optical metamaterials. Atwater and his group have been active in photovoltaics research for more than 20 years. Recently they have created new photovoltaic devices, including the silicon wire array solar cell, and layer-transferred fabrication approaches to III-V semiconductor III-V and multijunction cells, as well as making advances in plasmonic light absorber structures for III-V compound and silicon thin films. He is an early pioneer in surface plasmon photonics; he gave the name to the field of plasmonics in 2001.
Host: Mork Family Dept of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
More Info: http://chems.usc.edu/academics/10-11/w-01-20-11.htm
Location: Henry Salvatori Computer Science Center (SAL) - 101
Audiences: Everyone Is Invited
Contact: Petra Pearce
Event Link: http://chems.usc.edu/academics/10-11/w-01-20-11.htm